Kataja win fourth straight to climb in Group B
LE MANS (Basketball Champions League) - Kataja Basket recorded their fourth consecutive victory in the Basketball Champions League with a hugely impressive 74-57 away win over Le Mans Sarthe on Tuesday night.
Daniel Mullings was virtually unstoppable and finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Kataja have had double-digit winning margins in every game during their win streak, three of which have now been away from home.
To make the latest triumph even more stunning, Kataja achieved it without the help of their leader, point guard Teemu Rannikko.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game, just because of what happened when we played them at home," Mullings said.
"It was good all the way through. Both teams played hard, but I think we just put so much emphasis on this game and played as a complete team and came out with the win. The key was defense."
Le Mans remained within in striking distance throughout, but Mullings keyed a 9-4 run to open the fourth quarter with five quick points to give Kataja a 14-point cushion that they rode the rest of the way.
"I'm awfully proud of our guys tonight," commented Kataja Head Coach Greg Gibson.
"We came in a little short-handed, missing our captain, one of the best guards in all of Europe. And to not have his leadership on the floor and still come out with the effort and victory tonight says a lot about the rest of the guys on this basketball team."
Kataja improved to 6-4 with the win and climbed into to third place in Group B. They are now just a game behind both Le Mans and Umana Reyer Venezia, who had a tough time but eventually put away strugglers Khimik on Tuesday.
"(The win was) Very important," Mullings added.
"We know what's at stake so every day, we want to key in and come together collectively and just play hard."
Mouphtaou Yarou led Le Mans with 15 points and 5 rebounds.